Swine flu detected at 2nd Maryland fair

WASHINGTON — For the second time in as many weeks, a Maryland fair is dealing with cases of swine flu.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture issued a statement Sunday, saying tests showed 11 pigs from The Great Frederick Fair are infected with influenza A.

All swine at the fairgrounds have been quarantined and will not be released until seven days after the last pig shows signs of illness.

“The symptoms were high fevers, coughing, reluctance to move and mouth-breathing,” said Dr. Mike Radebaugh with the state’s agriculture department.

This comes after seven residents contracted a strain of swine flu from infected pigs at the Charles County fair.

Maryland’s health department said last week that the infected people had close contact with five pigs that tested positive. None of the infected individuals developed a serious illness or had to be hospitalized.

The pig infection, announced Wednesday, led to a quarantine of all pigs at the fairgrounds. As a further step, Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joseph Bartenfelder issued an order canceling swine exhibits at fairs in St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.

According to Radebaugh, discovering swine flu at more than one fair in Maryland “is a concern,” but it is not a big surprise.

“This is a type of virus that seems to circulate through swine that are at fairs,” he said.  “It is basically ubiquitous in breeder-type pigs.”

Further testing is underway to determine if the cases in Frederick and Charles counties can be traced back to a single source.

As of Monday, there were no confirmed reports of any people contracting the flu from the infected Frederick pigs.

Transmission of swine flu to humans is rare.  Since 2005, there have only been about 400 reported cases.

Health officials said that people who feel sick should contact their health care provider and inform them if they have had pig contact within the past seven days.

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to the seasonal flu, including fever, cough and sore throat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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